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Chitala chitala

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII OSTEOGLOSSIFORMES NOTOPTERIDAE

Scientific Name: Chitala chitala
Species Authority: (Hamilton, 1822)
Synonym(s):
Mystus chitala Hamilton, 1822
Taxonomic Notes: Hamilton (1822) described Mystus chitala from Bengal and Bihar, subsequently placed under the genus Chitala by Jayaram (1981).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2010-05-28
Assessor(s): Chaudhry, S.
Reviewer(s): Rema Devi, K.R., Arunachalam, M., Daniel, B.A. & Dahanukar, N.
Contributor(s): Molur, S. & Ng, H.H.
Justification:
The species is an apparently widespread species, reported from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand. However, Chitala chitala is likely restricted to the Indian subcontinent; the genus appears to be absent from Myanmar (misidentification of records may be based on very large Notopterus notopterus), and in Southeast Asia, C. borneensis, C. hypselonotus, C. lopis or C. ornata have been misidentified as C. chitala (H.H. Ng, pers comm., 2010; Roberts 2007).

Populations have declined significantly across much of its range in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal due to pollution and over-harvesting. The species is assessed as Near Threatened based on a suspected population decline approaching 30% in recent years and the species is still very highly utilised across much of its range in Nepal, India and Bangladesh.

Data from population studies are not available and it is not possible to estimate the period over which the suspected decline has occurred. The species should be re-assessed if further information becomes available on the species population status elsewhere within its range, and it may qualify for a threatened category; additional taxonomic study should be undertaken to confirm the species absence from Myanmar, southeast Asia, and from Indonesia.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The species is recorded from Pakistan, India (Manipur, Uttaranchal, West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar), Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand. It is widespread in the western and eastern Himalayas.

However, Chitala chitala is likely restricted to the Indian subcontinent; the genus appears to be absent from Myanmar (misidentification of records may be based on very large Notopterus notopterus), and in Southeast Asia, C. borneensis, C. hypselonotus, C. lopis or C. ornata have been misidentified as C. chitala (H.H. Ng, pers comm., 2010; Roberts 2007).
Countries:
Native:
Bangladesh; India (Assam, Bihar, Manipur, Tripura, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal); Nepal; Pakistan
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:

Limited information is available; it has declined in some parts of its range, including Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and northeastern India due to declining water quality (siltation) and, mainly, overexploitation (S.C. Dey, pers. comm., 2010; S. Chaudhry pers. comm., 2010). In Nepal, very few specimens were recorded in recent surveys (B. Jha pers. comm., 2010). Specific figures are not available.

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Inhabits freshwaters, particularly the larger rivers, but is also found in swamps. The species congregates, making it easily caught where it is present.
Systems: Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species attains a length of 122 cm, but market specimens are about 26 cm long. Swamps yield considerable quantities of this species in Indian area, where it is captured with seine nets. The flesh is of good flavour but full of small bones; the fish is in considerable demand. The catches of this species are fast declining in India. Breeding has been successfully undertaken for the food trade.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

No information available for all of its range. In parts of India the species has declined due to over exploitation and decline in habitat quality.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Captive breeding of the species is being undertaken in parts of India to provide food fish (Ponniah and Sarkar 2000). Further research is required to understand the impact of harvesting across the species range.


Citation: Chaudhry, S. 2010. Chitala chitala. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 October 2014.
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